Police Brutality And Discrimination

There are professions that naturally allow those who hold them some level of power over others. Teachers have authority over the children that they teach. Presidents have control over their entire countries in terms of influencing the policies that all citizens live under. Police officers exercise power over all ordinary citizens by enforcing the laws of the country in which they live. This is not always a problem but there are times when that power becomes a corrupting force in the lives of members of the protective services. There are many different reasons that brutality may result from discrimination and these will be explored below.

Ethnicity

Members of ethnic minorities are much more likely to be subjected to ‘random’ searches and in the even that they are found to be in possession of something they should not have, they are also much more likely to be arrested and charged. The charges leveled against them may be much heavier as well. Recent cases have highlighted the use of force against African American males especially that has resulted in the deaths of unarmed citizens, some of whom had already been subdued. There are very few such cases involving American citizens of European descent.

Religious Beliefs

Following the September 11th attacks there has been a surge in religious intolerance in the United States. This has resulted in people who are not members of the dominant religion being targeted in communities where they are the religious minority by an especially wide margin. At times, this bias has led to people who merely appear superficially to be members of a particular group to be detained and searched in complete violation of their rights.

Poverty

While the factors above are clearly a problem, there is one mitigating factor that can make people less likely to be harassed by officers despite their affiliation with any group. That factor is wealth. Rich people commit crimes, they are merely different types of crimes. They are often treated as if their crimes are less severe. When people who are poor and thus relatively powerless interact with the police they are often given less leeway. They may be harmed during their arrests while wealthier persons would be allowed to arrive at the station when they were ready to do so.

While the majority of officers may be decent people with the best wishes of their communities at heart, brutality will continue until the bad apples are removed.

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